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Mariana Baabar
Friday, February 22, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD,Pakistan: Pakistan appears encouraged by the growing level of ‘cooperation and trust’ it shares with Afghanistan, and on Wednesday asked for the handover of Pakistani Taliban leader, Maulvi Faqir, arrested in Afghanistan.

 

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar appreciated this development when her Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul informed her about it over phone.“This shows the growing level of cooperation and trust between the two countries. We hope that he would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because he has the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands,” Foreign Office Spokesman Moazzam Ahmed Khan told the weekly media briefing here.

 

Pakistan has recently released 26 Afghan Taliban — a gesture appreciated by Kabul. Most of them have either reunited with their families or seeking medical treatment after release from jail.

 

Islamabad has also indicated to Kabul that apart from Faqir, all other people engaged in anti-Pakistan activities should be captured, arrested and handed over to Pakistan.

 

In this regard, the spokesman expressed his concern about the involvement of some groups trying to destabilize Pakistan, particularly those hiding in Kunar and Nooristan provinces of Afghanistan.“But I do not want to get into details, as these can be best given by Mr (Rehman) Malik himself,” he added.

 

Pakistan appeared slightly apprehensive of the latest trilateral meeting in New Delhi where India, the US and Afghanistan looked into the future of Afghanistan.

 

The spokesman said this initiative should have a transparent strategy with a clear objective and that any initiative taken in this regard would ensure that the territory of Afghanistan was not used against Pakistan.

 

“We have repeatedly said that Pakistan is totally committed to a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan. Any initiative that would help achieve this objective, we support it,” he said.

 

However, the spokesman laughed away the Indian finance minister’s statement that India shares 106 km land with Afghanistan. “I did read this report. I think at best it is laughable. This Indian claim has no legal or geographical basis,” he clarified.

 

“The Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project is enormously important for Pakistan, as we are an energy-deficient country. It is in our national interest to have this project. We are committed to having this project. Yes, there are some issues, but Pakistan is determined to pursue this project.”

 

As the US pressure on Pakistan increases to disengage from the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project, Pakistan refuses to budge.

 

Pakistan also shrugged off criticism of the handover of the Gwadar Port to a Chinese company saying this would not only help develop the area, but also give China a better access to other markets and for its energy supplies to have a shorter route.

 

“This is an economic and commercial venture between the two countries enjoying excellent relations and having a high level of trust and confidence, and which have convergence of strategic interests in the region,” remarked the spokesman.